Omar Khan Names Chandon Sullivan, Duke Dawson As Steelers’ Slot Corner Options

Arthur Maulet’s Wednesday release left the Pittsburgh Steelers with more questions than answers at slot corner. In his first comments since that move, Steelers’ GM Omar Khan gave an overview of the slot corner position and mentioned two names specifically to potentially fill that void – Chandon Sullivan and Duke Dawson.

Khan joined Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller on 93.7 The Fan to talk about the group.

“Chandon Sullivan, who we signed, he’s played in that role in Minnesota and Green Bay,” Khan told the show. “Duke Dawson was on our practice squad last year. He’s from Florida and originally drafted in the second round. We think he has a chance to compete there.”

Sullivan, like Damontae Kazee in 2022, was signed on Day Three of the NFL Draft. A veteran corner with plenty of slot experience, he’s started 31 career games, including ten last season for the Minnesota Vikings. There, he recorded 60 tackles and broke up seven passes though the analytics weren’t kind, grading him out as one of the NFL’s worst slot corners.

Dawson is a more surprising name to include though he comes with slot experience and pedigree. A former 2nd round pick of the New England Patriots, he never took a snap for the team and last saw the field in 2020 for the Denver Broncos. He’s appeared in 26 games, starting four, and registering 27 tackles.

Pittsburgh’s slot corner is a muddy situation and Khan said they’ll allow competition to dictate who gets first crack at that spot. He didn’t seem to rule anyone out, mentioning that Mike Tomlin and Patrick Peterson have had conversations about moving him around this season, something Peterson has mentioned multiple times since signing in March.

With Maulet gone, it’s not clear if the team could use committee approach like they did the past two seasons, Maulet on early downs, Cam Sutton on passing downs, or a full-time guy like Mike Hilton was for several seasons before leaving in free agency.

If the Steelers’ answer truly is one of Sullivan or Dawson, it opens up the question about how Pittsburgh’s top three cornerbacks – Patrick Peterson, Levi Wallace, and second round pick Joey Porter Jr. – will shake out. If one of them isn’t moving inside, then one of those names won’t be on the field in nickel packages. Peterson is going to start, the expectation is Porter will play, and Wallace finished 2022 stronger than how he began it.

Unclear right now, Khan believes it’ll be sorted out before Week One kicks off.

“I’m confident that when it all shakes out after Latrobe, we’ll have the right guys in place.”

Slot corner is arguably the biggest question mark and uncertainty on the team heading into the spring and summer. It’s something we’ll keep a close eye on once we get to training camp. The last time Pittsburgh had this dilemma was in 2021, which the Steelers didn’t handle well, and they no longer have the luxury of moving a natural fit like Sutton back inside.

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